To mark the centenary of both Bentley and Pebble Beach, the 2019 Concours d'Elegance is preparing for a British invasion.
During the marque’s centennial year, Bentley will take center stage throughout the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. A single glance at the event poster – featuring a 1931 Bentley 8 Liter – makes the British presence very clear, courtesy of renowned modern impressionist Alfredo De la Maria.
Classic collector Bentleys will constitute nearly a quarter of all concours competitors, filling a total of six complete classes; including several special groupings. Offerings will range from the earliest surviving 3 Liter to a plethora of racing icons and lashings of superlative postwar machines.
As for the car on the poster, well, that just happens to be the most coveted 8 Liter on the planet. Originally ordered by Captain Vivian Hewitt – a Welsh aviator and Brooklands racer – and paired with a short chassis, lightweight body, insane power (check out the side exhaust), and large Le Mans-style fuel tank and gauges; this was the sporting machine on which all others have since been judged.
Hewitt piloted the Bentley for a whisper under 7000 miles in the 1930s, before parking the vehicle in a barn. It didn’t move for a further 26 years. Now owned by Daniel Sielecki, the 8 Litre remains an unrestored original.
“In past years some spectacular Bentleys have gathered here—particularly our 2009 showcase of Bentley team and race cars that included Old Numbers 1, 2 and 3, as well as Birken Blowers 1 through 4—but I can confidently say the Bentleys headed our way on this occasion promise to surpass past displays,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button.
Walter Owen Bentley, who preferred the simple moniker of ‘W.O’, founded his namesake company on July 10, 1919. His pioneering attitude towards mechanicals and engineering served his time at the helm with great success, before the financial stress of the Great Depression forced the company’s sale to rival firm Rolls-Royce.
“W.O. made an indelible mark on history,” said Peter Hageman, a Concours Selection Committee member who has been involved in gathering the Bentleys for the coming event. “He created heroic cars that were driven to glory by heroic men and women. Their stories fueled the imaginations and desires of a host of early automotive enthusiasts, and they continue to inspire us today.”
The Bentleys that drive onto the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links on August 18 will meet a place marking a centennial of its own. As W.O. was creating his company in England, Pebble Beach Resorts was being carved into the West Coast of the United States under the guidance of Samuel F. B. Morse. For a century now, it has served as home to major competitions and great champions.
The last time any Bentley received a Pebble Beach accolade was back in 1965. Hopefully, both institutions can celebrate 100 years with the decoration of historic Bentleys. Motorious will update you on the results as they happen.